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Mamata Says Sorry After CEC Seeks Explanation on Kolkata Police Chief's Absence in Meet

According to ECI rules, any officer who has completed three years in the same place cannot continue there if the person has to be tasked with election duties.

PTI

Updated:February 2, 2019, 8:50 AM IST
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Mamata Says Sorry After CEC Seeks Explanation on Kolkata Police Chief's Absence in Meet
West Bengal chief minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee.
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Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Friday she was "sorry" that Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar was not present at a meeting with the Election Commission of India (ECI) a day ago.

Earlier in the day, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora sought an explanation from the state government over the absence of Kumar at a meeting here on Thursday, where the poll panel discussed election preparedness with senior officials.

"Rajeev Kumar is working as the city police commissioner for over three years and he is now on leave. If the CEC says so, I am sorry for that (Kumar's absence)," Banerjee said when her views were sought on this matter.

According to a well-placed source, during Friday's meeting with the chief secretary and home secretary, there was a strict directive from the commission to remove Kumar from the post.

According to ECI rules, any officer who has completed three years in the same place cannot continue there if the person has to be tasked with election duties.

An 1989-batch IPS officer, Kumar replaced Surajit Kar Purkayastha as the city commissioner in January 2016.

While interacting with the media, the CEC said: "The ECI has no idea about why the city police commissioner remained absent. We have sought an explanation from the controlling officer of the police commissioner in this matter."

Asked about the reason behind Kumar's absence from the meeting, Arora said somebody told him that it was the officer's birthday.

The commission had last month directed all state governments to transfer officials posted in their home districts and those who have spent three years in a post in the past four years.

It is usual for the poll panel to issue such directions ahead of the Lok Sabha or assembly polls to ensure that officials do not interfere in the election process in any way and the exercise remains free and fair.
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